I know this is going to be hard to hear so please bear with me.
I spent years of my life longing to see my office, my email, my car and my house all neatly organized into color-coordinated files. Surely this blissful state would allow me to reach my goals and give me peace of mind.
Honestly, it’s just not true. Getting organized is not the key to reaching your goals, in fact, it might be killing your productivity. The quest to reach this blissful state of Pinterest-like living is actually holding you back. Releasing this belief from my tightly clenched fist did not come easy.
There is a scientific reason for this, not just this working woman’s opinion.
It’s called entropy: the second law of thermodynamics, everything is in a state of breakdown. Who knew it was science holding back your productivity? I’m not one to geek out on the latest science journals but once this was introduced to me I couldn’t “un-see it”. Entropy applies to your body, your car, your house, the laundry, your email, and the list could go on. Everything is breaking down around you.
Have you ever said, “When I get caught up I will ____________.”? Fill in the blank with the most important thing you should be working on. Because of entropy, getting caught up is a scientific impossibility. Now you’ve put your most important work at the mercy of an impossible task. You’re never really getting caught up!
Let go of that blissful lie that there will come a day when your inbox is empty, your laundry is caught up, there’s no repair needed to the house or car and your calendar is booked appropriately with high-quality work. Waiting for all of this to be organized is a pretty little lie we tell ourselves.
Organizing is like putting a zigsaw puzzle together. It lays on the table for days or maybe weeks with missing pieces waiting for someone to work on it. Sometimes pieces get lost. It’s messy and not very pretty in the process. Because it takes so long, often the puzzle gets abandoned before the beautiful finished product.
Do you have a project like this that comes to mind? You saw that beautiful inspiration picture on Instagram and started to remodel the bathroom. The project was far bigger than you planned. There were missing pieces for days or weeks and by the time you finished, your excitement had declined into sheer frustration.
Instead of getting organized and wrestling with a 500 piece puzzle – focus is the key to productivity and reaching your goals. I love the dictionary definition of focus which is to “adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly.”
Focus requires shining a light on the few most important goals and relationships and the tasks associated with those. It’s impossible to focus on everything so this approach forces you to choose those things that are going to give you the highest return on both your time and your energy.
Focus requires us to decide what really is most important. Is it possible spending time on market research for your dream product is more important than an empty inbox? Is it probable the laundry will still be there when you finish writing that piece for your marketing plan?
Decide your key goals and projects, then focus. Get clarity and shine the light on and your attention on those things. Getting caught up and then organized is the enemy of achieving your most important goals. Do less better.
Focus is the key to moving forward.